His Divine Grace

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

By the will of the Lord, trikala-darsi rsis have made the laws, and those are recorded in the scriptures. They make the laws, but the laws are for whom? It is necessary to know. The law is not for those who are perfect persons, but the law is for the sinners and offensive persons. The paramahamsas always see everything as property for the service of Krishna. The paramahamsas use everything in that way, and therefore no fault touches them. But everybody must follow the rules and regulations so as not to disturb the environment here in this mundane plane. But where everybody is perfect, there is no necessity for making laws. If nobody sins, then there is no necessity for having prison houses. In every country there are many prison houses, but there would be no necessity for these if everybody was perfect. The pure devotees are always perfect, and so it is not necessary to make any restrictions or rules for them. They are doing what is good for the service of Krishna, and that is the rule they are following. They are not disturbing others, therefore there is no necessity for law and restriction. In such a plane everyone’s mood is to serve others and not to take for themselves. That is the service world, and in that world there are no problems. What disturbances may be seen there, are for the nourishment of the Pastimes of Krishna. There may even be jealousy in that plane, but that jealousy is also very nourishing for His Pastimes, though that is a very high thing. That world is the transcendental world, where there is no fault and no wrong. Whatever appears to be wrong is really glorifying Krishna and giving Him satisfaction.

During the Rasa-lila, Srimati Radharani was watching Krishna dance with the other gopis. She thought, «I know that He is not fully satisfied, but why is He doing this for so long? And what is My position there? I am His super-servitor, and so I do not like it when Krishna deals with Me in the same way that He deals with others!» Thinking this, She left. As soon as Krishna noticed that Radharani was no longer there He became beside Himself and started searching for Her. He left everything and everyone, and went searching for Her.

Such things cannot be explained fully, but when they come down and manifest in the heart, you will be able to understand them. Srila Rupa Goswami explained in his book Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:

atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah

This is a very nice sloka and gives us much hope. Krishna’s Name, Krishna’s Fame, Krishna’s Pastimes, Krishna’s Form — everything about Him — is transcendental, and therefore we cannot conquer Him with this mundane human body and mundane self. But we can conquer Him fully with our transcendental mood of service. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah: when He is satisfied with our mood of service, He Himself will come down into our hearts and will dance on our tongues. It is not by the power of our exertion, but Krishna Himself will come on our tongues, and He will dance showing His form and Pastimes.

Nityananda Prabhu is very merciful, Srila Guru Maharaj is very merciful, and Srila Swami Maharaj is very merciful, therefore there is no doubt that we must get everything necessary to connect with the high transcendental matters. Then why should we have any fear about mundane activities? Only we must not make any offence to the Vaisnavas; that is our cautionary rule. We must follow the path of avoiding offence to Vaisnavas. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj heavily expressed in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta:

yadi vaisnava-aparadha uthe hati-mata
upade va chhinde, tara sukhi’ yaya pata
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 19.156)

With his head the elephant rips up trees and throws them out; similarly Vaisnava-aparadh is like that elephant’s head: it rips up the creeper of devotion, the bhakti-lata, and throws it away. At that time the heart becomes empty of devotion and full again with illusion. No other disturbance can come in the way of bhakti except Vaisnava-aparadh, and it is my earnest prayer that you all give me blessings so that I may be safe from the danger of ever committing Vaisnava-aparadh in my life.

Question: You said that we are to be the servants of the Vaisnavas, but we also hear that the Vaisnava is a servant of all jivas and of the whole world. So how are we to adjust?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Anything other than service to the Vaisnavas is not service to Krishna, but that is karma. Only service to the Vaisnava is real service to Krishna, and only that can take us out from the illusory environment to the transcendental service world. The only service to the jivas which is actually good is if we can engage them in the service of Guru-Vaisnava; otherwise serving them will be the cause of not only their bondage but also my own bondage (loko ’yam karma bandhanah).

The meaning of the word ‘mahotsav’ has been explained by Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur in one article that he wrote. In the Vaisnava community many mahotsavs are being held in every temple, but generally the meaning of ’mahotsav’ is not known. ’Mahotsav’ means ‘maha utsav’, that means that it is a ‘super-festival’. Everywhere they are telling, «We are celebrating a super-festival.» Here ‘super’ means that there is transcendental blessing, mercy, everything — prasadam. In which way is Krishna taking our humble offerings? Through Guru-Vaisnava. To satisfy the Vaisnavas is really to satisfy Krishna. Krishna says:

aham bhakta-paradhino hy asvatantra iva dvija
sadhubhir grasta-hrdayo bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyah
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 9.4.63)

But if there is no Vaisnava present, where will we see the transcendence? But if a Vaisnava takes prasadam, that will then be transformed into a maha-utsav — mahotsav. There may be only five, or even just one or two, Vaisnavas present, but that is then a mahotsav, whereas if there are thousands of people present to take food but no Vaisnava, then that is not actually a mahotsav. First the Vaisnavas will take prasadam, and then those who are fully body conscious will take after them.

Therefore everything is not service to Krishna and the Vaisnavas. There are very few Vaisnavas, but first we shall try to serve the Vaisnavas, and in that way we can distribute prasadam to the masses. Amongst thousands gathered at a festival there may be only one or two Vaisnavas present, but if they first will take that prasadam and the remainder is distributed to the masses, the mahotsav is successful. In that way the masses will get nitya sukrti, or eternal merit, through that maha-mahaprasadam.

We want to serve the masses, but in which way? By giving them mahaprasadam. When Krishna takes food, that is called mahaprasadam, but when that mahaprasadam is taken by a Vaisnava, it becomes maha-mahaprasadam, and it is that which we want to distribute to everyone. Amongst those who are gathered at a festival some of those who are body conscious may be destined to become ghosts, but they will be benefitted by taking prasadam, and if they will take maha-mahaprasadam after the Vaisnava-seva, then they will get more benefit.

At present they will not listen to the advice of the scriptures. They are attached to the mundane world. Also maya always keeps some cover over this transcendental Nabadwip Dham. There are many here who are playing upon that cover like insects on a bottle of honey which has the top firmly closed; they try to take that honey but cannot. If we do not follow the directives, our position is also like that. First it is necessary to open the bottle, then the honey can be distributed everywhere. The devotees will take that honey and glorify it with an intoxicated mood. While they relish the taste and enthusiastically give glorification, some honey may spill here and there, and we can take that. This is very nice for us and we can easily get that ecstasy.

bhuvi viluthamo natamo nirvisamah

Without caring, they are relishing that honey, dancing and crying, and in this way they are taking that intoxication. That is called alankar. Here intoxication does not mean the intoxication of alcohol and drugs, but the intoxication of Hari-katha. That type of ecstasy comes down from the transcendental world through the servitors of Krishna. Those servitors dance and chant ecstatically, and while doing so, some of that ecstasy is spilt here and there, and we can easily take that.

Srila Guru Maharaj wrote, «I have collected those drops of ecstasy in my Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. You take it and taste for yourself just what this is.»

sri-srimad-bhagavat-padambuja-madhu-svadotsavaih sat-padair
niksipta madhu-bindavas cha parito bhrasta mukhat gunjitaih
yatnaih kinchid ihahrtam nija-para-sreyo ’rthina tan maya
bhuyo-bhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam: 10.14)

I think that this is the highest sloka I have received in my life, and I shall try to explain the meaning.

«In the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is honey. The devotees in a very glorifying way taste that, and it is not a mere drop of honey, rather it is an ocean. They take that and become very intoxicated. They chant and glorify their Lord, and that honey overflows. A few drops of that come down into this world, and I am quickly collecting those drops of honey and keeping them in a pot: that is Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. For my benefit and the benefit of the searchers, I am presenting this in book form. You take this and bless me.»

This, in a simple way, is the meaning of that sloka, and I think that this is the highest sloka I have heard in my life. I am always quoting this, and whenever I have a chance I include it in a book.

This is one of the two slokas that I always want to publish and distribute. The second sloka is from Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta:

krsna-lilamrta-sara tara sata sata dhara
dasa-dike vahe yaha haite
se chaitanya-lila haya sarovara aksaya
mano-hamsa charaha tahate
(Madhya-lila, 25.271)

«What is Krishna-lila? It is the real essence of nectar. It is the gist of sweetness, happiness, and ecstasy. The sweetness of the sweetest thing that can ever be conceived of is represented in Krishna-lila. Then what is Chaitanya-lila? In Chaitanya-lila, that sweet nectar of Krishna-lila is flowing in all ten directions in hundreds of streams as if from a fountain. That fountain is Chaitanya-lila.»

All the devotees like to read Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta and I have also read it many times, but the meaning is not always apparent to us. The real meaning comes through our service, so we must try wholeheartedly and happily to serve, even though sometimes service may not come so happily to us. Sometimes it may give us pain or difficulty.

On the occasion of moving the No. 1 Ultadingi Road branch of the Gaudiya Math to the Bag Bazaar Math in Kolkata, all the devotees were chanting and dancing, and so became very tired. Because they were so exhausted, everybody took rest and tried to sleep even without eating. Srila Guru Maharaj was also very exhausted. His name then was Ramendra Sundar Babu. One devotee approached him saying, «O Ramendra Babu, please come with me in order to bring here a pot of sweet prasadam from a devotee’s house.»

Although Srila Guru Maharaj was also very exhausted he said, «Yes, I shall go.» On arriving at the devotee’s house Srila Guru Maharaj saw there a large pot weighing perhaps sixty kilograms. His body was very strong and, carrying that pot on his head, he went to the Bag Bazaar Math. However, he was not in the habit of carrying things on his head and later said, «At that time I thought my head was going to be crushed!»

Srila Guru Maharaj took that heavy pot thinking, «It is an austerity for me no doubt, but I must take it because this prasadam will be taken by the Vaisnavas and everyone gathered there, and they will be happy. Nobody else can bring this pot at this time, so I must do it.» Later he explained that when he was feeling so much pain in his head he was thinking, «Krishna wants this service from me, therefore I am happy to do this.»

That brahmachari who asked Srila Guru Maharaj to carry the pot later said, «Maharaj, I have done much offence unto your lotus feet.»

But Srila Guru Maharaj replied, «What offence?»

«Oh, on that day I was unable to get anyone to bring the heavy pot of prasadam to the Bag Bazaar Math, therefore I asked you to do so. But you are a very high class brahman; not only that, your position was very exalted, but I could not understand or recognise this on that day. I therefore treated you like a servant by asking you, ‘Ramendra Babu, come with me.’» Lastly he asked Srila Guru Maharaj for permission to stay in this Math, and he did stay for perhaps three or four months.

Service to the Guru and Vaisnava is our life, and we must try to perform that service. No doubt we cannot always satisfy Guru and Vaisnava, but the main thing is to have the tendency and inner desire to satisfy them. Transcendental power comes down through that channel, and if we want it, we must try in this way. Through the Guru and the Vaisnavas, transcendental power comes to us and gives us devotional strength. That strength is the service to Guru and Vaisnava.

Narottam Das Thakur wrote: «Nitaiyer karuna habe Vraje Radha-Krishna pabe.» When we can please Guru and Vaisnava, they will give their mercy, and then we must surely get service to Radha-Govinda and Mahaprabhu. This is very clear. In this way Nityananda Prabhu is very merciful, and He takes the conditioned souls from the very low level up to the high level: that is the power of Nityananda Prabhu. The incarnation of Nityananda Prabhu is Gurudev. Always He distributes the mercy of Mahaprabhu, and He gives entrance to the lila of Radha-Krishna. He is actually the first treasurer of the whole of the transcendental world. He is the master of the whole of that realm, and when we may get entrance to Goloka, Vraja Dham, we shall receive the mercy of Radharani’s servitors. But first, to serve Nityananda Prabhu is most necessary; we must satisfy Nityananda Prabhu.

In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta it is related that Raghunath Das Goswami many times tried to go to join with Mahaprabhu’s Mission in Jagannath Puri, but he was always unsuccessful and could not meet with Him. Many times he tried to go to the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but his father tried to keep him in household life, and therefore Raghunath was very sad.

One day he heard that Nityananda Prabhu had come to Panihati near Raghunath Das Goswami’s father’s house. Immediately he went to see Nityananda Prabhu thinking, «Without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu I will not get Mahaprabhu’s mercy.»

So he went to Nityananda Prabhu. Seeing him, Nityananda Prabhu was happy and said, «You are a thief. Always you are trying to go to Mahaprabhu in the manner of a thief, but first you arrange a festival to feed all the devotees gathered here for My satisfaction. If you can satisfy Me in this way, I shall give you direct entrance to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.»

At that time wherever Nityananda Prabhu went He was accompanied by many devotees; also on that occasion in Panihati Gram many were present.

Raghunath Das was very happy to hear Nityananda Prabhu’s order and said, «Yes, Prabhu, I shall try.» So from many villages he collected large quantities of yoghurt, milk, flat rice, bananas, sandes, and many other eatables in order to feed the devotees. He made all arrangements. Nityananda Prabhu with His associates, servitors, and devotees all very happily took that mahaprasadam. Nityananda Prabhu said, «Yes, now you have finished your grhastha life. Your household life is now finished, and you will attain to Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.»

Then he went back to his father’s house, but he did not enter the inner quarters. Instead, he lived on the outside in the reception room. Raghunath Das Goswami’s mother said to her husband, «Many times your son has stealthily tried to run away to go to the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; therefore bind his hands and keep him in a room so he cannot leave.»

Raghunath Das Goswami’s father was not a pure Vaisnava, but he had regard for the Vaisnavas. He replied, «How will binding your son keep him here? There are three things that are sufficient to bind one in this mundane world: one is money, another is wife, and the third is fame. But I gave all of my money to him; I gave him a good and very beautiful wife; and I gave all my fame to him, but still I cannot bind him. If I cannot bind him by this method, then how will you keep him here merely by binding his hands? It is impossible to bind him, to keep him in a house. Now I see that also I cannot bind him and that today or tomorrow he must join with the Mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

«chaitanya-chandrera krpa hanachhe i̐hare
chaitanya-chandrera ‘batula’ ke rakhite pare?»
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 6.41)

«Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy has come down into his heart — who can bind a ‘madman’ of Chaitanyachandra? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is now very merciful to him, and therefore nobody, including myself, can check him.»

After only twelve days he met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Mahaprabhu saw him, He said, «My Raghunath has come back now, but he is very thin. He has not taken any food during his journey, except for only a little milk that he begged from the brahmans’ houses.» Then he put Raghunath Das Goswami in the care of His personal secretary and friend, Svarup Damodar, saying, «You please take care of this boy.» In this way Mahaprabhu distributed His full mercy to Raghunath Das Goswami. This is the history of Raghunath Das Goswami’s life.

Without service to Nityananda Prabhu we will not achieve anything. Nityananda Prabhu means Gurudev. The incarnation of Nityananda Prabhu is Sri Gurudev. His position is just like Krishna’s, rather it is even more than Krishna’s. What Krishna cannot do, Nityananda Prabhu can do. That is His very heavy and powerful position. And by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu we must get entrance into the lila of Radha-Krishna. What Mahaprabhu wants to distribute in this mundane plane is Krishna-seva under the guidance of Radharani. That is the highest goal of our life. By the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu we must receive that opportunity. Srila Guru Maharaj’s line is very clear. Through service we can reach the goal, otherwise there is no possibility. Always the mood of service will give us enthusiasm to engage with even more of a serving attitude. By that mood of service we can achieve everything.

Srila Guru Maharaj gives the example of a boy playing football. The football always comes to the feet of a good football player. For one who can play nicely, the football always comes to him. The centre-forward is very clever and swift, but one who cannot play properly is always running around the whole ground, but the ball is always far from his feet. Similarly, for one who can do seva, seva will come to him more and more. This is a very nice example for us. It is necessary to sincerely try to serve, and in this way we will find that we are always engaged; and by the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaj we must fulfil his desire. We are only to sincerely try to serve, and it is good if we do not involve ourselves with any result that may come. Sometimes the result may come very nicely, and sometimes no result may come, but we are not to involve ourselves with that. In Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna says in regard to the mundane world’s affairs:

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino ’nityas tams titiksasva bharata
(Bhagavad-gita: 2.14)

Everything in this mundane plane is sometimes coming and sometimes going. Sometimes there is happiness and sometimes sadness. Sometimes we have good food, sometimes bad food. Sometimes we achieve what we want, and sometimes we do not. But service life is not like that. We must not involve ourselves with any mundane matter. We must involve ourselves with service ,and we must try to fulfil our service, but the result is in the hand of Krishna. Whatever comes may be good or may be bad, but as much as possible I must always try to be successful. This is our life, and joyfulness and success must finally come to us. Since so long ago in my life also, I have seen many things happen, but ultimately I have been successful.

During the time of Srila Guru Maharaj many times many things happened in this Math, but he told me, «Don’t be upset; this is your duty, and any result will come through Krishna, so that result may be good for you.» This is the way we must try to serve. We shall try to engage in the particular service in which we have capacity and with which we are familiar. But first importance will be given to following instructions. If instruction will come for us to do service for which we are not accustomed, or which is against our nature, then we are to prepare ourselves for that.

When I joined Srila Guru Maharaj’s preaching Mission, I was very young, perhaps seventeen years old. After seeing me Srila Guru Maharaj asked, «Can you stay here?» I was surprised. I thought, «Why is he asking me this? I came to stay. I did not come with any thought of leaving, so why is Srila Guru Maharaj asking me this?» I was a little upset, wondering why Srila Guru Maharaj was asking me this. Then the brahmachari who first brought me to the Math said, «Yes, Maharaj, this boy can stay.»

Srila Guru Maharaj then said, «Yes, this is very good. His intention that he must stay is very good.» He further said to me, «Can you follow me?» At that time it was not within my nature to give a negative answer. If I was ordered to do anything, I would immediately say «Yes.» Even without fully hearing the order, I would immediately agree to it; that was my nature. If the question would come, «Can you do it?» I would always immediately tell «Yes.» I did not like the word «No.» So when Srila Guru Maharaj asked, «Can you follow me?» I said, «Yes, I shall do anything you instruct.»

Then Srila Guru Maharaj said, «First you try to follow this one instruction of mine.» I replied, «Please, Maharaj, say what that instruction is.»

He replied, «Do not listen to your mind, but hear from me. What I shall order, you are to follow that. Can you do that?»


Then one day I was taking prasadam, but that prasadam didn’t appear to be very nice, especially the dal which contained so many insects. The dal tasted very nice but there were many white insects floating on the surface. When the cook came to serve that dal I noticed the insects. Nearby, standing on the veranda, was Srila Guru Maharaj. He was watching, so what should I do? At first I thought, «Oh, it is very bad», and my mind told me, «Don’t take it!» Then suddenly and immediately I took the decision, «Oh, no, no. I must take it. It has come as the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaj, therefore I must take it.» At that time I immediately gave out some sound, «Oh, no, no. I must take.»

It was the order of Srila Guru Maharaj: «What I shall tell, you must do. What I shall give you, you must take.» So I must take that prasadam, and happily. After taking prasadam I went to Srila Guru Maharaj in order to give some massage and to have some discussion. He was joking with me and said, «Why did you say, ‘Oh, no, no. I shall take’?»

Then I explained, «Maharaj, it was full of insects. It was not pure dal, but on the top many insects were floating — perhaps thirty or forty! So I was thinking it was not good. But suddenly and immediately I remembered your order, ‘What I shall give you, you must take; and what your mind will say, you don’t follow that.’ Remembering that, I happily took.» Then Srila Guru Maharaj said, «Very good. You can follow me.» In this way I had my first examination — and passed.»

Sometimes many things may come to confront us in order to examine us, but we must sincerely try to pass those tests. No doubt we may sometimes fail, but we have heard that «failure is the pillar of success». Therefore there is no problem, and again we must try.

bhumau skhalita-padanam bhumir evavalambanam
tvayi jataparadhanam tvam eva saranam prabho

When a young child is at first trying to walk by himself, he will not successfully be able to do that. Sometimes he will fall down, but he will get up and try again until finally he is successful. At first he will try one step, then two steps, then three steps, then four steps. In this way he will go forwards and fall down, but then he will try again to walk. Our attempt is also like that: sometimes we must fall down, but there should be no fear of that because we must have the strength of mind to know that we have the backing from our Guru and the Vaisnavas. Seeing their merciful world we must take the chance again and again; that is the main thing, and there is no other way.

Here where we are living is the mundane plane, where in a cyclic way we are receiving birth after birth throughout the fourteen worlds. But our goal is to cross over this environment to Paravyoma Dham and to Goloka Dham: that is our destination. By repeatedly trying, one day we must be successful in reaching that goal. Another way for us to go is by the merciful blessings of Guru and the Vaisnavas. They are not blind, but seeing our intention they must surely help us by giving guidance as to which way we can go and what will be beneficial for us. What we may get by way of inspiration is received from the Chaittya-guru, the internal Guru. Other directives we receive from the Mahanta-guru, the external manifestation of Sri Guru. Therefore our future is very bright, no doubt, but we must follow the directives of Srila Guru Maharaj and try to go to our transcendental destination. This is our only duty; there is no other duty.

It is very fortunate when the opportunity to engage in direct service to Krishna comes to the jiva-souls, and Krishna gives that through Guru. Therefore Nityananda Prabhu, that is, Sri Guru, is the only hope in our lives. Lastly we have seen how Srila Guru Maharaj was always chanting, «Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai.» He said, «My only hope is ‘Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai.’»

Nobody could understand the meaning within that, but by the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaj I immediately guessed it. Srila Guru Maharaj is showing us the proper line. He has crossed over all stages of the practising life; that is called paramahamsa, and now he is showing us our fortune, that is, Dayal Nitai. By the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu we must be successful; therefore our practising life must go in that direction. This is my advice to you all, and also I am trying, and praying to Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, «Please give me that type of increasing inspiration and power to preach to others and be successful as a servitor myself.»

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